Thursday, March 17, 2011

Every child left behind?

With federal stimulus money mostly spent, the Great Recession is going to hit education hard next school year.

Sisters Elementary will go without a principal. More layoffs loom.

Now, poor leadership at American schools is one of the more significant under-reported stories across the country. Still, doing without a principal does seem a bit drastic.

At Sisters, though, it was either that or lay off two teachers and see classes grow to more than 30 students in split-grade-level classrooms. In fact, teachers may still face layoffs. The Oregon legislature is poised to scuttle the corporate tax increases that voters approved last year which could result in another shortened school year.

It's a scenario to be played out across the region, the state and much of the U.S.

It's what we choose as a nation.

We choose to cut money to education and reward the rich with even bigger tax breaks. Now, some Republicans are talking of slicing the top tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. It was 90 percent in the 1950s, 60 percent in the '60s and '70s, and 40 percent under Reagan. Can anyone connect the dots between tax cuts and deficits?

With teabaggers hyper-ventilating about the budget deficit (they were breathing pretty easy during Bush II's reign or error), Republicans are poised to make "major" cuts by eliminating funding for public broadcasting. Wow, who knew that tea carried such a caffeine kick.

Teabagging Republicans believe that teachers are overpaid, have it too easy with summers off and have benefits that much of the private sector no longer enjoys.

Some right-wing newspaper pundits believe that if teachers made less and less every year along with diminishing benefits, we wouldn't be in the budget mess that we're presently in. Of course, teachers have been taking pay cuts throughout the past decade, their insurance premium out-of-pocket expense is now 20 percent and their workload has increased.

That's not enough to the anti-union malcontents. To them, if the pay for teaching gets low enough, perhaps more people won't become teachers and we can all return to home-schooling our kids. If it was good enough for our Founding Fathers (there were no mothers, apparently), then, by god, it's good enough for us.

The goal is to diminish the livelihoods of all working-class Americans. Not too long ago, the goal was to raise the standard of living for everyone. Evidently, teachers are living too high on the hog and it's time to sell that old Subaru.

Even as we de-fund public education, though, the national debt won't diminish because the millions of students who can't afford college will make less money in the workplace.

Gee, maybe we should just skip education altogether and bring back child labor. Maybe then we could import jobs back to America for the pre-teen set and knock a few bucks off our trillions in debt.

Call it a tea for all.


  1. Good for Sisters Elementary. Their Principal is doing just an OK job. They have extrememly qualified, on staff personel, with YEARS of experience, more than able to put out any fires. And they have a Superintendent right across the street that can be in the front door of the school in 2 minutes, WALKING, if need be. Parents in the District have spoken. They prefer cuts just about anywhere to keep class size down.

    As for the rest of you sarcastic crap. Blah, blah, blah! More liberal B.S. and whining, that in the end accomplishes nothing. Maybe we should just continue to run up the debt?

    I know of not a single parent (liberal, conservative, Tea Bagger, etc.) that is trying to screw teachers. That's f***ing ridiculous. They do, however, want to rein in the gross and well documented abuses and waste that our teacher's unions undertake.

    And what about all of the feel-good mandates that the liberals have burdened our schools with. Countless resources expended on what amounts to, in many cases, as nothing more than baby sitting.

    Oh, and let's not forget. Teachers, poor poor teachers, get a full year's salary and benefits, and only have to work for 180 days (or less, in most cases in Oregon).

  2. It seems like the commenter above is turning a blind eye to what really happens.

    You're in the right, Xray. Keep up your great posts.

  3. No, Anon 2, the previous commenter (and it wasn't me) has been in the schools (although not necessarily Sisters) and seen what a pathetic job the school system does. It's more important that the kids be taught that two men kissing is natural and normal (it's not) than to actually learn that 23 + 22 = 45. It's more important that kids be taught that to abort a fetus is no big deal, it's not REALLY a human being than to be taught that ICU is not the same as I see you and can not be used on a formal paper.

    Times are tough, I've been laid off 3 times this decade, so I have huge sympathy for anyone who loses a job. But in hard economic times there just isn't enough money to go around. We are already taxed to a point that fed, state and local typically takes about 30% of your paycheck. Granted, if Xray had his way we'd give the government 90% of our paycheck because the government knows so much better than we do.

    We, the people, set up and fund the educational system and we, the people, still have a modicum of control over it. We only have so much money to go around and there are LOTS of good causes that need the money. Good for Sisters for taking a good look at reality and dealing with it. With a bit of good luck Xray may someday face reality too.